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>> no substantive progress have been made in the talks between the white house and the house. >> my hope is to get this done before christmas. >> everybody who signed the pledge, including peter king, who tried to weasel out of it. i hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years. >> the fact he brought my wife in tp he never met my wife. i better hope he doesn't, she'll knock his head off. >> if they give it up now in return for nothing, obama wins and he wins big. >> read my lips, no new taxes. and when he violated that pledge -- >> off with his head! ♪ we begin with a very busy day in washington and an array of meetings that would put your average speed dating event to
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shame. as we know, politics sometimes makes strange bedfellows. in this case one unusual lunch day. this afternoon the president hosted his vanquished rival, mitt romney. no word yet on if mr. romney found the cookies up to his rig rouse standards or how many white house beers the president decided to drink. we're also holding out hope that a savvy waiter or waitress caught at least 47% of the lunch on cell phone video. while in washington romney also met with his former running mate, the marathoner paul ryan, and offered a few kind words about him to the press. >> mr. romney, how was your meeting with mr. ryan today? was it nice to see him? >> that's a greet friend. good to be with him. >> good to be with him? >> always great to see paul ryan. >> while today's lunch was perhaps an opportunity to shake after a hard fought campaign,
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not everybody was feeling so friendly. take for example john bain mother earlier today slammed the president for campaign style events on the fiscal cliff. >> no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the white house and the house over the last two weeks. so right now all eyes are on the white house. the country doesn't need a victory lap. it needs leadership. >> speaker boehner said the president needs to get serious about what spending cuts he's willing to make. but that was news to senate majority leader harry reid. >> he says that democrats have got to get serious about cuts, spending cuts. where is the disconnect then? >> i don't understand his brain, so you should ask him, okay? >> he's not alone. all this comes as treasury secretary tim geithner held separate meetings today with boehner, reid, nancy pelosi, and mitch mcconnell, and over at the white house spokesman jay carney
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said the debt ceiling should not be a pawn in any kind of fiscal gamesmanship. >> asking for a -- that a political price be paid in order for congress to do its job to ensure that the united states of america pays its bills and does not default for the first time in its history is deeply irresponsible. >> now, if you're sensing a distinct lack of holiday cheer down in washington these days, take heart. because joe biden is still our vice president and no fiscal cliff fights are going to stop him from a shopping blitz at washington's new costco super store. the veep came looking for pies and left with a television, books, fire logs, and a huge smile trailed by a horde of surprised shoppers. >> just walking through this store. get some guidance. >> you know, i have a feeling that the president may have missed his usual lunch partner at the midday meal today.
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joining us from washington is msnbc own historian the great chris matthews, the host of "hardball" and the author of quk jack kent, elusive hero," available now. highways t that's the advertising over. we learned the menu including white turkey chili and no humble pie after all. >> no dessert at all. i wondered about that double helping of poultry. what a strange meal. the turkey and then the chicken part. it's a strange meal. must have been dietary rules. i don't think that's a natural decision by the chef. strange meal. >> how do you think the meeting went though in truth? >> i think it's been screwed up because mr. romney, the governor, gave a wonderful concession speech, he came out at 11:20, gave a short concession speech, said all the right things and then a couple later was talking about how the president bought the election. he really did put some bad blood
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there between the two of them that he didn't have to do. i thought it was wonderful the president talked about using romney as someone who could come in as an efficiency expert, his strength during the olympics of course, he proved that, to really help the federal government become more efficient and more effective at setting out or meeting the commitments it makes. i think why not bring in a republican business guy to do that and there's certainly a wonderful tradition. truman brought hoover in from the cold in the 1940s and there was a man who had been villainize ed since the great depression and he ran the hoover commission. of course, fdr, the british were already in the war and he sent wendell willkie over as his personal emissary. there's a great tradition of using the person you beat if you're on the right page. >> aside from that luncheon, chris, speaker -- >> they're not there, though. they're not up to this level
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yet. these two fellows. i don't see it yet. >> speaker boehner continues to stamp his feet. he says treasury secretary tim geithner, with whom he met this morning, i'm quoting him, has no specific plan. but isn't speaker boehner confusing the issue here? the president has made it clear that he wants to sign a bill that's already passed the senate and would retain current tax rates for those earning less than $250,000. >> it's a piece. they don't think he's given what they want to see in terms of entitlement reform. the president has a program of entitlement reform. he's got the essence of a plan. they know what it is. i think it's almost like, to use a movie version of reality, where they got the kidnapper wants to see the money at the same time you turn the kid back over to the parents. it's a strange deal. they ought to have a meeting somewhere over the weekend where they agree nobody goes out of the door with anything until everybody has put their thing on the table.
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obviously we're watching a minute wet right now. sometime before christmas they will put the cards on the table in time not to screw up the whole thing that they may well be on the road to screwing up. i'm very concerned that -- who was it, simpson/bowles, erskine bowles came out and said they're going off the cliff. what a horrendous thing that would be. >> boehner spoke to the president for close to an hour. it was a frank, direct conversation. what does the president need to offer to speaker boehner so that speaker boehner can show his face back in the house and not be too humiliated. >> the way i see it should be about a 55% to 60% democratic solution. it will never be 50/50 because the republicans lost the election. the winner, the winning party, gets to call it. and so i'd say 60%. what the democrats have to win on, they have to get an increase
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in the tax rate of people making a lot of money. it has to go up beyond 35% to something at least 37%, maybe 38%, maybe not 39.6% but somewhere around 38%. get that in. get rid of some deductions and i think that's it. they might want to raise the cap on payments toward medicare when you're working years. something that would make the medicare prom more secure financially which would appeal to the progressives and people with big city and working class constituencies. >> what about the age for when you qualify for social security? >> well, i wouldn't touch that. that's too high. you don't do that over christmas rush. you know, you do that over a long period of time and you make a very serious concession to people who have really heavy lifting jobs. it's different if you're working in a law firm and they keep you around for a few more years rather than you're driving a semi ray cross the country on route 70 or 80 all night long. you may not want a guy 730 years
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o -- 70 years old or a woman driving that truck. i really think you have to find something not -- i think the word hardship, not handicap, whether it be a hardship type role that are recognized as such where you get to retire sooner. i think we can deal with that over time but it takes more finesse. >> george will in his column today writes this, with a chip on his shoulder larger than -- >> i think will has a chip on his shoulder. >> -- barack obama is approaching his second term by replicating the m is stake of his first. now he seeks another surge of statism enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. i guess that's how he describes keeping middle class tax cuts but while this may cause apoplexy among some republicans, isn't it time they realize that a majority of people voted for government, not against it. >> yes. let's just do -- as bkt would say better than any of us could
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say, let's get to the arithmetic. right now the federal government is spending about 23% of gdp. it's collecting about 17%. we've got to get back to around 20%. both sides have to give a bit. if we're going to get close to 20%. both sides have to give a bit. it's not as simple as the government is growing by leaps and bounds. it's up above where a lot of people would like to see it. get it back to 20%, get the r f revenues up to 20%. why does everybody act like it's so complicated. >> we know the house republicans and the president is watching the new film "lincoln ". what lessons should they take about the president you wrote about. >> jack kennedy, the day he was killed, was sitting in the car with john conley and jim wright, the congressman from texas who told me this story years ago and he was trying to figure out ft. worth was still yellow dog democrat, solid democrat, and
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why dallas was so republican. he was trying to figure out politics to the very end of his life. he was working with the house judiciary committee on getting that civil rights bill through, using the cardinal in philadelphia, using boss dick daley in chicago to try to get some members there. he was working, working, working. it is a job, politics. it's an honor and it's a job. you got to do it, and i think the president would learn from this fellow jack kennedy. as gamerrous as this guy was, he was a worker bee when it comes to politics and i think the more the president spends time with members of congress on the hill, the more liberal as well as the more conservative, the more personal sometime he spends with those people the better shot he has at establishing a working relationship. it's not done by the telephone. you go the to meet, you got to get in the same room together. >> words of wisdom. words from history. chris matthews, as ever. thank you so much. >> you're a great colleague, sir. >> thank you, sir. next, why team romney and republicans still don't get it. stay with us. >> of what has happened to this country when i sing "white
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christmas" now, i will no doubt be deemed to be a racist. [ "odd couple" theme plays ] humans -- even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why, at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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i think the ideas had carry the day for us and the success we had, it obviously wasn't enough to win the race, was based on the candidate mitt romney and on his ideas. >> president kennedy once said that victory has 100 fathers but defeat is an orphan. sadly, this singular truth has somehow managed to evade a number of republicans, including stuart stevens, the romney
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campaign's stop strategist. he's the late nest a long line of apologists including the candidate himself that try to explain the loss that come close to insulting the electoral. joining us is bob shrum and matt miller. welcome to you both. matt, first it was mitt romney who accused the president of bribing the electorate with free stuff. that was very effective. now we have mr. stevens, another olympic gymnast of self-justification who comes out and his big silver lining is mr. romney only lost among vote whose make less than $50,000 a year. is the painful truth too hard for these men to bear? >> well, stuart is a friend of mine, i know him from politics for a long time so i wouldn't trash him personally. i think he's being loyal and describing an election when he puts his spin on it was closer than some others would like to say. i think the big thing that republicans like stuart are missing is that there's a whole
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new electorate out there that the they are not appealing to, and by failing to offering solutions to ordinary americans' problems the republicans had nothing to offer besides the same tax cut mantra and demonization of obama that won't work anymore. >> we all remember mr. romney's explanation for why he lost. you know, you can't beat free stuff was his excuse in a nutshell. mr. stevens was asked about those comments this morning. take a listen, bob. >> we have the governor speaking about the fact that the obama campaign paid its voters and certainly its lower income voters. that seems to me a bit sour grapes. >> i don't think that's what he was saying. they had certain groups they wanted to do well with, and they did well with. >> but where is theed a admissi from mr. romney or mr. stevens or republican that they many a nasty, mean-spirited campaign
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that deserved the thumping it received? >> you're not going to get that and, you know, i have met stuart. he's not a friend of mine, but you read the piece he wrote in "the washington post," you listen to what he said, you say no wonder romney make. the arguments he's making are fantasy and they're pernicious. he says crazy things like no one in washington, in the washington green room, ever thought mitt romney was going to be the nominee. it took a movement to get him the nomination. everybody thought he was going to be the nominee, and what was the cause that was at the heart of this movement? secondly, he says, well, look, the guy won the whiter, wealthier vote, and, therefore, we carried the day. that's a line out of "saturday night live." the truth of the matter is if that's all you got and you didn't get 270 electoral votes, i suppose you have received the jim crow prize for second place finish in the presidential campaign. it's crazy. >> only thing i would say to my friend bob is i think stuart is
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being loyal the way people are when they've lost hard-fought campaigns. you have bon on the losing side -- >> i don't remember bob shrum not telling the truth in the light of a spanking. >> no, bob is not a fantasist. joopt to suggest that all republicans lack moral and intellectual resources to confront what happened. mike murphy said, folk, that the party needs to realize that the party's brand is dying, its strategists are incompetent and it's campaign methods are hopelessly outmoded. that's right, isn't it? >> it's largely right. again, if you want to dissect the infighting among republican strategists, there's probably a lot of blame to go in why the republicans have not evolved their position in a way that would be more relevant to the everyday problems of average americans, which is to my mind why the party is going to be in big trouble. i think, look, wherever the dust clears on this, if the republicans don't get a
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rethinking like clinton provided for the democrats between '88 and '92 to actually address the problems, to get rid of the v vulnerabilivu vulnerabilities they have, the older, rich image they have, they won't make the headway they want to. >> bob, on top of this trend of pop republicans saying bizarre things, congressman louis gohmert of texas gave a radio interview and he expounded on some interesting theories about the president's foreign policy. take a listen. >> the only way you can explain the horrendous decisions that were so completely wrong-headed would be if this administration had a bunch of muslim brotherhood members giving them advice. >> so, bob, it's pretty clear the president has lots of people in the muslim brotherhood working for him like all thots those guys that killed osama bin laden and what about those who
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command the drone strikes? >> that whack job with texas is the person who went after the woman who works for hillary clinton. this is the kind of conspiracy mongering you would hope was over after this election. instead, it may get worse. and it may take two or three presidential thumpings for the republican party to come to terms with the fact that it can't be anti-immigrant, can't come across as anti-women, and it's never going to get the vote of young voters as long as it's anti-gay. these are hard questions. bill clinton, and matt is right about this, bill clinton brought the democratic party -- it wasn't a break with its fundamental values but he brought it forward to a place where it could win elections again. it's going to be tougher for the republicans because those folks in the iowa caucuses are going to stand there and say who is the most anti-gay candidate, who is the most anti-immigrate candidate and the person who is is most likely to win the
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caucuses. >> what clinton did was took on tough issues for the party, crime, welfare, trade, and he repo significanced with a substantive debate. >> indeed. let's hope they can begin by being no longer anti-factual. our thanks to bob and matt. thank you. >> next, mr. boehner and his kurt statement to the white house. does the speaker really speak for anyone anymore? stay with us. music is a universal language. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from. and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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we know this is not a beer summit nor did they drink that lovely wine you keep discussing with me. do you think they buried the hatchet? >> reporter: they're really tight-lipped about this. there were only two people in the room and those were the principals, of course, president obama and mitt romney. martin, it was 12:29 when a lone blank lincoln navigator suv made its way up west executive drive adjacent to the west wing and out popped a smiling mitt romney. they're one-on-one meeting to bury the hatchet as you put it before they sat down for lunch in the private dining room which turns out to be in the west wing, not behind me in the residence as i mentioned yesterday. >> thank you for that factual correction. >> i really felt bad about that all day. they posed for that picture in the oval office, shaking hands before the hms resolute desk. if you look closely, behind them through the door, that's the private dining room. there's a pair of boxing gloves for what we understand -- they're not for use but they're on display. if you get by a computer you could perhaps magnify it.
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on the menu white turkey chili, southwestern grilled chicken sal salad. they spoke of leadership and the need to maintain the same. the president wished him well, mitt romney. it was said to be a friendly conversation we're learning late this afternoon. as far as we know there was no ask from the president to governor romney, no nomination forthcoming to be commerce secretary or any other role in the administration from what we know at this point. >> nbc's mike viqueira. thanks. >> reporter: okay. >> stay with us. the day's "top lines" are coming up. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin. [ designer ] enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months,
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i just finished a bowl of your new light chicken pot pie soup and it's so rich and creamy... is it really 100 calories? let me put you on webcan... ...lean roasted chicken... and a creamy broth mmm i can still see you. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation. thanks. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. from lunch with willard to those costco kirkland shirts, here are today's top lines. bah humbug. >> i'll go anywhere and do whatever it takes to get this done. >> i was born with the glass half full. >> everybody who signed the
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pledge, including peter king. i hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years. >> he's never met my wife and he better hope he doesn't, she'll knock his head off. >> it's the spending that's owl of control. >> this is not a deal. it's called raising tacks on people who have been successful. we will still continue to raise our deficit beyond unbelievable numbers you can't even find on your calculator. >> my hope is to get this done before christmas. >> you might call this thelma and louise economics. >> our country doesn't need a victory lap. it needs photo-op. >> i don't think they're going to take pictures. >> extraordinary financial gifts. >> he did a terrific job running the olympics. >> worked agris sifly to turn them out to vote. >> if it was president bill clinton ideas might actually be exchanged. what percentage of people watching right now think proev is going to offer mitt romney secretary of commerce? >> play my jam!
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♪ >> i got my costco card. >> three packs of shirt from costco. >> americans want to celebrate christmas not the holidays. >> except if you go to brown university. >> they think there's a made-up war on christmas. there is a war on christmas. >> i don't look down on you. i don't think you're a pinhead. why are you messing around with christmas. >> don't tell me what i think. >> nothing says christmas like santa and ak-47s. >> when i sing "white christmas" i will no doubt be deemed a rayist. >> i know you won't tell anybody what i got for christmas. >> you have our word for it. joining us now is victoria soto, jimy williams, an msnbc contributor, and the great joy reid, managing editor of
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i want to talk about another war, this one within the gop itself. there's an individual by the name of ken cuccinelli, he's virginia's attorney general who let the anti-obama care charge. he's now running for governor. he's not just far right on policy. he's further right than any republican when it comes to tactics. he's bullied his states board of health into a stance that could force most abortion clinics to close and on climate change he's not only sued the epa, he troo i had to prosecute a university professor for obtaining grant money to study it. correct me if i'm wrong but isn't using the tools of government to suppress dissent the opposite of democratic government. >> talk about doubling down on a losing strategy. if there's one thick that was clear from the 2012 election is there isn't an appetite for this far right politics, and virginia in particular. voting again for president obama and electing a democratic senator. virginia is increasingly a
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moderate state. we're not in texas, my home state. if kucuccinelli were running in texas, arizona, even in georgia, these types of politics wouldn't just hurt him, they'd help him, but he's not. he's running in virginia, the land of whole food moms and dads. but at a broader level i find the cuccinelli race interesting because i think it might be a precursor to what we may see in the midterms and perhaps in the 2016 presidential election. we already hear some rumblings about perry getting back into the race, santorum -- >> oh, lord help us, no. please. >> i swear. >> please, no, not the return of rick perry. you cannot be serious. >> i swear to you. >> oh, lord. okay, jimmy, mr. cuccinelli, he sued over obama care, lost. sued the epa, lost. is there anything more dangerous to a political party than a leader who consistently picks fight he loses? >> how many times do you have to lose to be kaumd a loser. >> right. >> let's be honest about this,
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you have -- and i'm a resident of the commonwealth of virginia. >> you are, indeed. you know this man. >> well, actually no, i really don't. i don't care that he's a republican. to me it's not about your political ideology. it's about whether or not you think people ought to have equal rights. the theory of separate but equal is no longer the law of the land. under the 14th amendment we've said, and look at the panel you have on the screen now, you have a gay man, latino woman, and an african-american woman. under mr. cuccinelli's sort of theory of law, the 14th amendment doesn't apply to me as a gay man. he said so in 2010. under mr. cuccinelli, who wants to be the governor, my governor, he thinks, he believes that, in fact, the 14th amendment, which the commonwealth of virginia ratified in 1869, that's hard for him to fathom, that it should not apply to me or joy ann reid or anyone else of color or minority. he thinks everyone should walk around and do what they need to do as long as they're white men.
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there's a single problem with that, martin. that's not what virginia looks like. that is not what the commonwealth of virginia looks like. >> that's not what the country looks like. joy, let me read you his opinion on immigration because you'll like this one. this is from his website. illegal aliens who choose to break additional laws by stealing identities, dealing drugs, joining criminal gangs, driving without a license, or committing fraud must receive prompt justice and deportation. no ifs, ands, or buts. this is not the face of the new republicans because that sounds very like one mitt romney, doesn't it? >> and illegal aliens. that's like terminology from like the avenue '70s. maybe we should beam them back to their home planets. i think it's funny and i think we should pause for a moment to reflect on the fact that the guy who is running to be the next governor of virginia is to the right of whose claim to fame is
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vaginale probes. he is to the right of the civil war without slif ri guy and the vaginal probe guy. just thought i'd mention that. >> that's wonderful. victoria, speaking of immigration, sheriff joe arpaio, known for his extreme anti-immigrant views, has seen the light sort of. he told an arizona newspaper, i can get along great with the hispanics. in fact, i sure would like to meet them. would you like to give us what you think the reaction of what he calls the hispanics will be when he meets them? >> well, joe arpaio, and i'm actually a native of arizona so i have seen him throughout the years, he may be many things, but he's not dumb. he sees the demographic electoral handwriting on the wall, and he knows that currently latinos are close to 20% of the arizona electorate. in the next electoral cycle they will be close to a quarter of the electorate. if he wants to stay in office he
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has to make nice with latinos. he cannot continue these policies. i find it so interesting that suddenly he wants to meet the hispanics. >> jimmy and joy, jimmy first, i thought this was going to be a new refreshed republican party that bobby jindal was talking about after the election, but all of this sounds very, very familiar and old and obsolete. >> well, listen, the president during the last debate, he talked about mitt romney's view of the country and about a 1950s america. we're not in the 1950s. in fact, we're not even in the 20th century. we're in the 21st century. it's time for my former party, the republican party that i left in 1992 because of social issues to get with it. they have got to figure out that you can't tell gay people we want your vote but we're going to discriminate against you. you can't say we want you to vote for us because you're latino but by the way, we're going to stop you because you got brown skin and you're driving a car. you can't do that if you want a big tent.
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don't tell me you have a big tent. show me you got a big tent. if you don't do that, it's all talk and it's not going to get you -- you can't continue to be the majority party in the country if you keep doing these kind of discriminatory separate but equal sort of political theologists. >> i this i the important thing is that this illustrates the difference between the conventional wisdom and the pointy heads of the republican party, the receive schmidts, the operatives. at that level they understand they need to change. i am glad all this is happening because i feel like i have been proven right a little bit. you can't do it when you still have the same people. it's not as if the base of the republican party has changed at all. it's still a party primarily of largely southern white men and their wives. it's still a very conservative, arch conservative party at the base level. no matter what the operatives know they need to do, you can't
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change the base. >> joy reid, victoria soto, and jimy williams, i'm glad all of you are in this country safely and well. stay with us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks. women are angry and defensive. you need proof? go up to any single woman and say, the reason you're not married is because you're angry and defensive. stay with us. oh no, not a migraine now. try this... bayer? this isn't just a headache. trust me, this is new bayer migraine. [ male announcer ] it's the power of aspirin plus more in a triple action formula to relieve your tough migraines. new bayer migraine formula.
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and well. and defensive.
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we can go forward with a big, bold, and balanced agreement to end this fiscal crisis, to stop going any closer to the cliff. it can be done. >> house minority leader nancy pelosi just moments ago insisting with just a little cooperation from republicans, the dreaded fiscal cliff can be resolved. songman john yarmouth is a
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democrat from kentucky, the same state that mr. mcconnell, the senate minority leader, represents. good afternoon, sir. exactly what will it take to get republicans to play ball on this? do you have any idea, sir? you're there. what do they want? >> obviously it keeps changing. what's really clear right now is that they're trying to throw in all sorts of ancillary issues in this fiscal cliff debate and they have nothing to do with it. medicare, medicaid, social security, don't have anything to do with the fiscal cliff and neither does the debt ceiling. this is strictly a matter of statutory provisions that go into effect on january 1st, but they want to burden up this and muddy the water to basically, i think, to refuse to do a deal. >> right. because over in the senate, as i was saying, mitch mcconnell is refusing to even consider the president's proposal to maintain the bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 a year, but to raise taxes on
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those earning more. now, today short of a sol solution, he offered a series of ideological insults. >> only reasons democrats are insisting on raising rates is because raising rates on the so-called rich is the holy grail of liberalism. their aim isn't job creation. they're interested in wealth destruction. >> sir, can you explain what mr. mcconnell is doing resorting to rants about the holy grail of liberalism when every poll since the election shows that a majority of americans believe support taxes going up on the wealthy for the good of the country. >> mitch is not making in he sense but this is not the first time that's happened. what they're trying to do is replay the entire campaign. i mean, this whole idea of holding up solutions to our nation's problems because they want to defend the wealthiest americans, that's their ideology. and he forgets to talk about that. that's been their holy grail from day one.
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so they need to realize the election is over, president obama is not messing around. he's not playing chicken. he's laid down his requirements. he wants these rates on the wealthiest americans raised. there is no other way to generate any significant income through deductions or any of the other restructuring they've suggested without also impacting the middle class. so -- or letting the very wealthiest americans get out scot-free. it doesn't touch somebody who is making 10 million a year or $20 million a year. they're just trying to avoid anything that's going to raise these rates and it's a mystery when 60% at least of the american people think that's an appropriate way to help balance the deficit. >> now, speaker boehner keeps telling us that he's put revenues on the table in form of closing loopholes, but democrats have not offered anything in terms of those earned
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entitlements. now, i know you said earlier that these are not connected issues, but are you and your colleagues willing to give any ground in terms of cuts, say, to medicare, medicaid, or social security or something? >> you know, this is somewhat laughable because, again, the republicans spent the entire campaign talking about how democrats slashed $716 billion from medicare and governor romney said i'm not going to take that money out of medicare. now they're demanding we take money out of the medicare. this is another example where their message keeps changing. it's not consistent and they're just relying on the same amnesia of the american people to let them get away with it. >> very briefly, sir. do we think there will be a deal or will we hit the cliff and go over it 1234. >> i'm getting more and more pessimistic by the minute now. if they try to throw medicare, medicaid, and social security in, which is their ultimate agenda, to privatize medicare, to bloc grant medicaid, if they headache that part of the deal, then there's absolutely not going to be a deal.
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>> congressman john yarmuth of kentucky. thank you. >> thank you. next, the so-called war on christmas, or as i like to say, the fox news advent calendar tp stay with us. >> why are you messing around with christmas? just leave it alone. is there a compelling reason for you to mess around with it? >> well, we're only messing around -- we're not messing around with anything. we're stopping the government from preferring one religion over another. >> stop there. >> well, no -- >> no, no, no. you listen to me and you answer my questions. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation. thanks. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'.
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according to some political commentators, the wars in afghanistan and iraq are not the longest that this country has been fighting. no, there is another conflict that's been raging for decades, and it's called the war on christmas. >> christmas was made an official holiday to honor the birth of somebody called jesus
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christ. >> exactly. >> it's unbelievable to me that we try to cover that up. >> it's not just the christmas tree. it's everything, all right? >> but what do you mean -- >> our traditions are absolutely imploding. >> joining me now is tom brecker of the thomas moore society. good afternoon, sir. >> good afternoon, martin. >> as i came to work this morning, there was the peerless sound of etta james singing the christmas song at a coffee shop. i walked down successful streets and avenues literally dripping in christmas decorations. right outside of my office is the eight-story rockefeller center christmas tree. at the white house, staff have spent days decking the halls of the presidential residence there in the most beautiful christmas decorations in all their glory. i have children who have appeared in multiple nativity plays and i myself will be reading one of the lessons at a
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cathedral midnight service on christmas eve, but fox news says there is a war on christmas. am i missing something, sir? >> well, i think there's no war on christmas. i think there's an issue about something we all agree on, martin, and that is the first amendment. and the first amendment has two parts to it. one is freedom from religion and that applies to government. the other part is freedom of religion, and that belongs to private citizens like you, me, and everybody else in this country. and the issue is when private citizens want to express their belief that christ is at the center of christmas and display a nativity scene or an overtly religious depiction of the significance of christmas, there are government efforts to suppress that. >> how so, sir? how so? >> well, how so? it happens, unfortunately, all
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too often, but increasingly we're having and enjoying a lot of success and we're doing that here in illinois and also elsewhere. >> but i'm delighted to hear you say that there is no war on christmas because i find it hard to imagine that there is one. but with regard to the specific issue of arlington heights where there was some sort of controversy, wasn't this because your client didn't actually fill out the paperwork properly. and, in fact, an attorney for the arlington heights park district said this, there's no real controversy. if you want to use a park for any purpose, there's a form. so i have to ask you, is this not an example of people almost wanting to warmonger a christmas -- a war on christmas where none really exists? >> well, martin, you're referring to our client, jim finnegan, of the illinois nativity scene committee, and jim went to meet the folks at arlington heights and believe me, he had a privately owned,
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privately sponsored nativity scene, and from that meeting he went away with word it had been rejected. maybe there was a misunderstanding. we're happy to say if there was a misunderstanding, so be it, let's move on. he's filling out forms now. believe me, nobody offered him forms. nobody said we're rejecting it because of forms. they will be filled out and i have every expectation and hope that the nativity scene will be displayed in arlington heights along with santa claus, frosty the snowman, the dancing elves and the other secular symbols of christmas. >> of course. >> and i hope there will be a menorah there. i hope there will be a crescent. everybody -- >> wonderful. you have said earlier in this interview that there were multiple cases. is that the smoking gun case that's about to be resolved? is that the best you can offer, sir? >> i think -- the best i can
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offer? i don't know. i think we're going to have the nativity scene there. that's what we're looking for. everybody should rejoice in that. there is another nativity scene that we've got down in the rotunda of the united states capit capitol, and that's not government speech, martin. that's individual or a group speech of people who have a point of view. that's the first amendment. there are political rallies there. the streets and parks in this country are owned by the government, but they're held in trust for the people. so, you see, this is a first amendment issue. >> absolutely. >> i'm sure all of us can agree on it. >> i'm delighted that you yourself on our broadcast have said there is no war on christmas. can i ask then, do you think it's time that people at fox news cease and desisted with this ludicrous manufacturing of a war on christmas that they seem to be obsessed with? very briefly if you can. >> well, you know, martin, the term war on christmas is a metaphor. there's a lot of
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misunderstanding. i look at a positive way at the success we're having and i want to be able to exercise their first amendment rights and put up nativity scenes in every public forum in the country. >> tom, thank you so much for joining us and a very happy and merry christmas to you, sir. >> and the same to you, martin. thank you, and to everybody watching. >> we'll be right back. all busi! pizza! [ garth ] olaf's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! helium delivery. put it on my spark card! [ pop! ] [ garth ] why settle for less? great businesses deserve great rewards! awesome!!! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? open enrollment is here. the time to choose your medicare coverage begins october 15th and ends december 7th.
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Martin Bashir
MSNBC November 29, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

News/Business. Journalist Martin Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.

Network MSNBC
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Virtual Ch. 787 (MSNBC HD)
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Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 1920
Pixel height 1080
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on 11/29/2012